Iranian fingerprints in Gaza 

Source: Iranian fingerprints in Gaza – Israel Hayom

Prof. Eyal Zisser

Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired the missiles at central Israel from Gaza on Thursday night. But Iran, which controls the terrorist group and its leaders and which gives it money and provides it with the type of missiles used in Thursday’s attack, is directly responsible.

Iran doesn’t hide its desire to spark a conflagration in Gaza with the aim of sabotaging and even halting Israel’s efforts to dislodge the Islamic republic from Syria. The Iranians also want to embarrass Israel and harm it, by exploiting the fact that this is a sensitive period, ahead of the upcoming April 9 general election.

Hamas, however, is also responsible for the missile attack, because it hasn’t taken action against Islamic Jihad and other recalcitrant groups in Gaza, which continue targeting Israel. Hamas lends a hand to the escalation along the border as a matter of routine, hoping to improve its negotiating position with Israel and receive aid dollars from Qatar.

In this regard, the missile attack on Gush Dan indicates the collapse of this conception and essentially the illusion – created by Hamas and Israel alike – that it’s possible to control the flames Hamas is fanning along the Gaza border and prevent them from spreading. At the end of the day, those who shoot at Israeli communities near Gaza will also shoot at Tel Aviv.

It is also evident that Hamas isn’t omnipotent in Gaza. Just yesterday, even before the missile attack, demonstrations erupted in Gaza against the organization over the grim economic situation there. In light of these protests, Hamas has no interest in even trying to control the rioters on the border with Israel or restraining Islamic Jihad and other like-minded groups.

Although Sderot and Tel Aviv are theoretically the same, it’s clear that the missile attack on Gush Dan crosses a red line that Israel cannot abide. But even at this critical juncture, it’s important for Israel to avoid playing into the hands of the enemy, whether Islamic Jihad or Iran.

With that, however, the missile attack is a wakeup call for all of us that the reality of limited friction in Gaza, which is supposedly under control, cannot last for very long.

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

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